These things seem to come in alternate weeks, don't they? Last week it was singles, this week the Official UK Album Chart plays witness to six new entries inside the Top 10, the top five made up entirely of brand new albums. Most headlines this week will be thanks to the performance of a parade of veteran (and semi-veteran) acts but they are all outsold at the death by John Newman whose debut album Tribute storms straight to Number One as a companion to the chart-topping single he managed earlier this year.
Landing in the runners-up slot are Pearl Jam with Lightning Bolt, the tenth studio album from Eddie Vedder et al, and one which arrives over four years since their previous offering Backspacer. As ever one must note the dramatically changed market circumstances since both their last album and their other eight releases, but nonetheless, history will record that Lightning Bolt is their highest charting album since Vs. debuted at Number 2 almost exactly 20 years ago this week.
Paul McCartney has been all over the media on both sides of the Atlantic over the past few weeks to promote his new album New, a campaign which culminated in a 'secret' free concert in London's Covent Garden during the week. All of which has helped his brand new record to debut at Number 3 on the album chart, by a strange coincidence his second Number 3 album in a row following on from Kisses On The Bottom which was released through Starbucks and which charted in February last year. Both records are his highest charting releases since he charted at Number 2 in 1997 with Flaming Pie, which just so happens to be his last album to receive such a universally positive reception.
Fellow sixties veteran Cher did some high profile promotional work of her own last week, most notably a starring role on the first X Factor results show of the 2013 series. Whilst the performance only helps her new single I Hope You Find It to a Number 25 chart placing (her first Top 40 hit since Music's No Good Without You in 2001 as it so happens) its parent album Closer To The Truth hits home at Number 4, effectively helping her to 'do a Pearl Jam' with her best chart placing in almost exactly 20 years, with her 1992 Greatest Hits collection hitting Number One in November that year. Despite containing her biggest selling hit single ever, Believe, her 1998 album of the same name only managed a chart peak of Number 7.
The Top 5 of new entries is finally rounded off by Perhaps Love, the second album of light opera covers from Britain's Got Talent discoveries Jonathan & Charlotte, their debut release Together having scaled the same peak just over a year ago. For those curious, the final new arrival in the Top 10 goes to The Saturdays whose Living For The Weekend is a new entry at Number 10.
To the Official UK Singles chart now and whilst few people pegged OneRepublic's Counting Stars as a Number One hit, surely far fewer still flagged it up as a record which would manage the feat twice over. Nonetheless, this is what has happened as a week after making way for Miley Cyrus' Wrecking Ball, Ryan Tedder and bandmates return to the top of the charts for their second week in total. The track is effectively the third single this year to repeat at the top of the charts, hard on the heels of both Robin Thicke's Blurred Lines and James Arthur's Impossible whose two runs at the top straddled the Xmas/New Year period. This hasn't happened since 1998 when Perfect Day, My Heart Will Go On and Under The Bridge/Lady Marmalade all had two spells at the summit.
Not that we aren't short of singles chart new entries either, although thankfully there are just 4(!) inside the Top 10 this week. Leading the way are Lawson who equal their best ever chart placing with a Number 3 entry for brand new single Juliet. Like its predecessor, Number 6 hit Brokenhearted, the track is one of several new tracks added to a forthcoming deluxe edition of their debut album Chapman Square.
The most extraordinary new entry of the week is perhaps the six-minute epic which lands at Number 5. Having spent the past six weeks or so hyping up the release of his single Berzerk, Eminem managed to completely wrong-foot just about everyone by dropping a second new teaser track just one week later. A perfect piece of promotion for his new album The Marshall Mathers LP 2, the new single Rap God duly becomes his second Top 10 hit in as many weeks, outselling its immediate predecessor which slips to Number 7 after debuting in second place last week. Having complained last week that I'm bored of hearing what Eminem has to say, I'm tempted to eat my words completely as Rap God is a lightning fast rollercoaster of a single which manages to back-reference every musical misdemeanour of his 14-year career whilst adding a few more along the way.
New in at Number 8 is the intriguing drum n' bass track Afterglow as performed by Wilkinson. The fourth single from the producer it is his first to reach the charts and arguably does so thanks to the powerful lead vocal from an uncredited Becky Hill, a teenager who first came to public attention as part of Team Jessie on the 2012 series of The Voice UK. Eliminated at the semi-final stage, she has indirectly been responsible for one hit single already, her audition performance of John Legend's Ordinary People having sent the original charting back into the charts the week following.
Iggy Azalea has already had two Top 20 hit singles this year with Work and Bounce reaching 17 and 13 respectively but with her third release she now just squeaks a place in the Top 10 as Change Your Life lands at Number 10. Rapper T.I. guests on the single, returning to the Top 10 for the first time since his cameo role on Blurred Lines back in the summer.
Meanwhile, his one single a week star may have been eclipsed briefly by Eminem this week, but Justin Bieber presses on regardless with his Music Mondays project. Track 2 is All That Matters which enters at Number 20, six places lower than last week's Heartbreaker, the one-week wonder nature of these singles neatly illustrated by the way that single dives to Number 75 this time around.
Next week looks mouth-watering by the way: Kiwi sensation Lorde going head to head with X Factor winner James Arthur and his first single proper. Cannot wait.